City’s biggest multicultural bash starts this weekend

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City’s biggest multicultural bash starts this weekend

Seoulites will have a chance to enjoy cultural performances and traditional delicacies from dozens of countries around the world at the city’s largest multicultural festival this weekend.

The annual Seoul Friendship Festival will take over three locations in the capital - Seoul Plaza, Mugyo-ro and Cheonggyecheon-ro - from Saturday to Sunday and feature music and dance performances from 15 sister cities around the world. There will also be a street parade with 70 participating countries.

The Seoul Friendship Festival is the city’s largest multicultural festival and was first held in 1996. The event was called the Seoul Friendship Fair until last year. City officials said the name was changed this year to better stress cultural exchanges between Seoul and its sister cities.

The festival will start with a parade of world cities on Mugyo-ro at 3 p.m. on Saturday. It will include performances by a traditional Korean orchestra, flag bearers from 70 countries and performance troupes from 15 sister cities.

Other events include an opening ceremony, music stage, wedding fair, tourism fair, food fair and world friendship fair.

The food fair, which will run from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday on Mugyo-ro and Cheonggyechon-ro, will include Indian tandoori chicken, Turkish kebabs, Swiss rosti, Chilean empanadas and Honduran yucca, among other offerings.

The cultural performances, to be held at the main stage at Seoul Plaza from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and 12:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, will feature a team of cheerleaders from Los Angeles, a martial arts troupe from China, a Maori dance group from Wellington, New Zealand, and a traditional dance ensemble from Maputo, Mozambique.

Fifty-three countries will be featured in the tourism fair. Their booths at Seoul Plaza will promote their respective countries’ cultural sites and sell traditional crafts.

In addition, the UN Refugee Agency, Greenpeace, Save the Children and other international organizations will publicize their activities during the festival, officials said.

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